NHS secondary care staff mental health support

NHS reviewing mental health support for secondary care staff

Secondary care staff may no longer be able to register with NHS Practitioner Health for mental health support, as NHS England undertakes a review of the service offering.

Existing secondary care patients will be unaffected but new ones could be directed toward to support services, including:

  • GPs
  • Occupational health departments
  • Organisational employee assistance programmes

Funding had been withdrawn from today (15 April) until 31 March 2025, although NHS Practitioner Health has now said that it will “work through how new requests received from Monday may be managed” while the review takes place and an alternative service is set up.

NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, described the news as “deeply concerning” especially as this is a “particularly challenging time” for health service staff.

"Survey after survey shows low morale and high burnout among NHS staff, with stress, anxiety and depression being the top reasons for staff sickness absence,” said Saffron.

“National funding is needed”

Nearly a third (30.4%) of respondents in the latest NHS staff survey reported being burnt out because of their work. Just over a third (34.2%) find their work emotionally exhausting.

A similar amount (29.1%) overall often think about leaving the NHS and around three in 20 (15.7%) are planning on leaving as soon as possible.

Join National Health Executive later this month for a dedicated ‘Workforce’ online conference where health leaders will tackle to issue of staff mental wellbeing, recruitment, management and more.

Saffron added: "National funding is needed to bolster trusts' efforts to build better working conditions and support staff wellbeing. We were hugely disappointed when national funding for staff wellbeing hubs was cut, taking away vital mental health support.

"With more than 111,000 unfilled jobs across the NHS, retention and development of valued healthcare staff is critical to the long-term health and wellbeing of the NHS and the patients it serves."

Primary care staff are also unaffected by the news as that support has been extended for another 12 months to 31 March 2025.

Image credit: iStock

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